Tuesday, August 12, 2014
StickerGate Preliminary Hearing Tomorrow, 1:30 pm
They face charges of littering, disorderly conduct, harassment, criminal mischief and possibly a RICO count for their involvement in a campaign to discredit Nazareth Police Chief Thomas Trachta with tiny FT (Fire Trachta) stickers throughout the borough.
An embarrassed Trachta rounded them up, called the press, and then walked them from the police station to a District Judge's courtroom inside the same building. In a touch of drama, he chained and shackled them before obliging photographers, completely violating their presumption of innocence in the process.
They were arrested and charged for exercising their First Amendment rights, which Trachta believes is against the law in Nazareth, at least when he's the object of derision.
I understand an armada of police cruisers will escort witnesses, who will thereafter enter the witness protection program.
The hearing is open to the public. But it is a courtroom, and if you plan to attend, don't dress like me.
The Sticker Gang is represented by three of Northampton County's best criminal defense barristers - Phil Lauer, Gary Asteak and Mark Minotti.